AVTA creates contingency plan in case of strike

LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Transit Authority is in the process of developing a contingency plan should the Teamsters Local 848 decide to strike.  Efforts are currently underway to obtain substitute coach operators who are presently providing transit service in other areas.

AVTA has been assured by its contractor, Veolia Transportation, that all Commuter and Local transit routes will continue to receive service in the event of a strike, but with a reduced level of frequency.   Adjusted schedules are being developed for release in the event a strike occurs.

AVTA has also secured commitments from both Metrolink and Santa Clarita Transit to accept a courtesy “Commuter Work Stoppage Pass”.  AVTA patrons must present their TAP card along with a “Commuter Work Stoppage Pass” in order to receive a courtesy trip.  The passes will only be valid during a work stoppage.

The passes will be distributed over the next several days at the Palmdale Transportation Center.  Commuters may also request a pass at the Customer Service Lobby at the AVTA offices, located at 42210 6th Street West in Lancaster.

Veolia Transportation’s unionized work force issued a 72-hour notice on Monday to Veolia cancelling the day-to-day contract agreement that has been in place since April 1, 2012. Veolia Transportation is the operations contractor for the AVTA.

It is unclear whether this means the Teamsters intend to strike. If this is the case, they could do so as early as 3 p.m. Thursday, April 26.  At this point, no one can clearly pinpoint a timeframe for the strike.  Veolia and AVTA will have very little time to respond, but a contingency plan is now in place should the strike come sooner than later.

There had been a meeting scheduled Wednesday between both parties and a federal mediator, but a scheduling conflict on the part of the mediator has forced the meeting to be rescheduled.  We will continue to provide updates as they become available.  Wages are the main point of contention between the two negotiating parties.

Dial-a-Ride service, which focuses on the Antelope Valley’s most transit-dependent population, will not be impacted by a work stoppage since these services are provided by a different company.

AVTA will update its website (avta.com) and its commuter hotline (661-945-9445; extensions 785, 786, and 787) to reflect current service information.

(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.)